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Re: readin, wRitin, and lets keep in ART (yak)

In a message dated 97-05-21 13:36:35 EDT, eveland@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Cheryl
Eveland) writes:
<<          I would say that we are in a very different position now as a
result of
 the launching of mass electronic media mid-century. >>

Right and sometimes changes are irrevocable.  Whether we accept and/or adapt
to a different reality depends on our openness to consider the new as a
challange that is not necessarily threatening but look at it as an
opportunity to explore a different dimension.  Artists have done this
throughout history and it is one of our strengths as individuals not to be
defeatists.  Whether we defend the traditional or embrace the unfamiliar is
less important than the fact that any change can be a healthy stimulus to
further what we already know and explore what it is that we don't know.

>This is a matter of
>keeping balance in an age where the sweeping  influence of electronic
>communication has very rapidly impacted our human experience. .

Balance...yes it's a pretty tricky thing to maintain sometimes.  However it
might be interesting to note that major changes that drastically affect a
tradition in familiar ways may provoke a renewed interest in that tradition
which could  lead to a new exploration or a deeper introspection.  Perhaps in
the book arts this is exactly the case we are seeing now.  I could cite a
tradition that I am intimately involved with as an example.

Blacksmithing.......a craft that had virtually died here in the U.S. soon
after the end of the great depression.  The craft of metalwork had shifted
from hand to machine and demand for ornamental work, for instance, literally
evaporated.  Partly because of the shift in architectural design of course,
but also because of technology itself.  It wasn't a bad thing necessarily,
just a sad thing.  Well to shorten up this tale let's just say that because
there was a scarcity of contemporary smiths working in this particular medium
that for whatever reason there was suddenly a renewed interest in the craft
(in the mid-sixties).  Interest and skills have since redeveloped over the
past thirty years.  Today metalwork in that particular manner has reached a
level of skill and outside interest that may not rival the past but is
certainly very much alive and innovative in ways not thought possible before.
 Blacksmithing is thriving today and is vigorous in terms of both process and

I'm using this example to express my feeling about the book arts.  I seem to
see a blossoming interest in the field and certainly a great deal of
stretching in terms of pushing the limits of this tradition.  Cheryl mentions
balance and sure it may be weighted in favor of technology but perhaps those
seduced by this technology may be the very ones at another time who may feel
the need for the intimacy of what some have to offer in terms of their work.
 If they feel the need, I'm certain that those needs will be met by the many
folks who now are quietly continuing the furtherance of this tradition.  None
of this negates the possibilities that a new technology may have to offer,
it's simply a matter of each tradition occupying it's own space on it's own

> Artists books
>and the art of the book keep the experience of a special intimacy and
>tactility alive for the viewer/reader, and allows us important room for
>participation, one-on-one.  (upclose and personal)

I can't think of a better closing than Cheryl's statement so I'll let it go
at that.

Chris Ray


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